«

»

Aug 26 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Jeff Jarvis: As a Democrat, I am disgusted with President Obama

I voted for Obama reluctantly, but never did I imagine he would become another Richard Nixon

What are you thinking, Mr President?

Is this really the legacy you want for yourself: the chief executive who trampled rights, destroyed privacy, heightened secrecy, ruined trust, and worst of all, did not defend but instead detoured around so many of the fundamental principles on which this country is founded?

And I voted for you. I’ll confess you were a second choice. I supported Hillary Clinton first. I said at the time that your rhetoric about change was empty and that I feared you would be another Jimmy Carter: aggressively ineffectual.

Never did I imagine that you would instead become another Richard Nixon: imperial, secretive, vindictive, untrustworthy, inexplicable.

Dave Zirin: Seeing ‘New Jim Crow’ Placards Seized by Police & More From the March on Washington

I spent eight hours today amongst thousands at the March on Washington, and the people present were some of the most remarkable, resilient people I have ever had the privilege to be around. The number-one face on T-shirts, placards, and even homemade drawings was not President Obama or even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was Trayvon Martin. I also witnessed homemade signs calling for jobs programs, speaking out against the school closures and in solidarity with those overseas victimized by US militarism. The people at this march are the face of resistance to what Dr. King called the “evil triplets of militarism, materialism and racism.” [..]

The day was symbolized for me on multiple levels by seeing DC Park police seize 200 professionally printed placards from activists that were distributing them for free. The placards read, “Stop Mass Incarceration. Stop the new Jim Crow.” Police said that it was “unlawful solicitation”, even though organizers were clearly giving them away. When those having their signs seized complained, they were threatened with fines or arrest. I heard one DC police officer say, “Hey, you can get them back at the end of the day. On second thought, given your attitude you cannot. ”

I have never seen free placards confiscated at a national gathering by DC police. Then again, I’ve also never seen a demonstration so thickly monitored, with park police, the Department of Homeland Security and the military on every corner.

Paul Krugman: The Decline of E-Empires

Steve Ballmer’s surprise announcement that he will be resigning as Microsoft’s C.E.O. has set off a huge flood of commentary. Being neither a tech geek nor a management guru, I can’t add much on those fronts. I do, however, think I know a bit about economics, and I also read a lot of history. So the Ballmer announcement has me thinking about network externalities and Ibn Khaldun. And thinking about these things, I’d argue, can help ensure that we draw the right lessons from this particular corporate upheaval. [..]

First, about network externalities: Consider the state of the computer industry circa 2000, when Microsoft’s share price hit its peak and the company seemed utterly dominant. Remember the T-shirts depicting Bill Gates as a Borg (part of the hive mind from “Star Trek”), with the legend, “Resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated”? Remember when Microsoft was at the center of concerns about antitrust enforcement?

The odd thing was that nobody seemed to like Microsoft’s products. By all accounts, Apple computers were better than PCs using Windows as their operating system. Yet the vast majority of desktop and laptop computers ran Windows. Why?

Anat R. Admati: We’re All Still Hostages to the Big Banks

NEARLY five years after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers touched off a global financial crisis, we are no safer. Huge, complex and opaque banks continue to take enormous risks that endanger the economy. From Washington to Berlin, banking lobbyists have blocked essential reforms at every turn. Their efforts at obfuscation and influence-buying are no surprise. What’s shameful is how easily our leaders have caved in, and how quickly the lessons of the crisis have been forgotten.

We will never have a safe and healthy global financial system until banks are forced to rely much more on money from their owners and shareholders to finance their loans and investments. Forget all the jargon, and just focus on this simple rule.

William K. Black: Bhide: Pick a ‘Boring’ Fed Chair Because Supervision Is the Key and It Requires ‘Dullness’

There have been a flurry of columns by economists and finance scholars claiming that Obama has decided that the next Fed Chair needs to be a strong supervisor and supporting that decision. Why, when, and how Obama underwent such a miraculous “Road to Damascus” conversion to favor vigorous regulation, supervision, and prosecution given the fact that early in his term he promoted Timothy Geithner and reappointed Ben Bernanke – two of the most spectacular supervisory failures in history – is never explained. Why this zeal for vigorous supervision only applies to the Fed is never explained. Why the economists and finance scholars suddenly (again, with the exception of Prasch) support making tough supervision a top priority of the new Fed Chair is never explained convincingly. Perhaps there was an entire caravan of economist traveling with Obama on the Road to Damascus.

Dean Baker: The Machines Displacing Middle Wage Jobs: Don’t Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Comforting Story

We are hearing endless accounts of how technology is displacing middle wage jobs (e.g. see the piece by David Autor and David Dorn in the NYT today). That would be work like manfacturing jobs, bookkeeping jobs, and other jobs that used to provide a middle class standard of living. It’s a comforting story for the people who control the media, but it happens not to be true.

The story told by Autor and Dorn is that technology displaces these jobs putting downward pressure on the wages of formerly middle class workers. At the same time it creates more jobs for the people who program the machines, hence we see higher wages for high end workers.

John Nochols: ‘New York Times’ to New York Democrats: Get Over That ‘Hope and Idealism’

The editors of The New York Times wanted everyone to read their endorsement of Christine Quinn for the Democratic nomination for mayor of the nation’s largest city. [..]

So, in a Democratic primary, the Times encourages voters to back the candidate who is most like a term-limited former Republican who was last re-elected as an independent.

Translation: for New York Democrats who are satisfied with the status quo, there’s a way to keep on keeping on.